The Highland Council is taking a range of necessary measures to safeguard services and essential supplies, should the severe weather continue over the holiday period.
These measures take account of the advice provided by the Scottish Government, and the unprecedented early severe weather that has been experienced in recent weeks, which may continue. This has already required over 40,000 tonnes of salt to be deployed by The Highland Council on non-trunk roads.
The Council recognises the need to keep priority roads clear and safe, and will ensure measures are in place over the holiday period that enable continued gritting of roads, while also preserving salt stocks. Lower priority routes will be treated with grit, and salt will be used when it is required to treat localised sections where there is ice. Salt will continue to be used on Priority 1 and 2 routes, and it will be mixed with abrasive grit in order to reduce the rate of consumption.
In the interests of public safety, motorists are asked to take appropriate safety measures, and to drive at a speed that is always appropriate to the conditions.
The Council is also aware that heating oil supplies may be under pressure over the holiday period, and that distribution companies will be prioritising vulnerable people where this is possible. Because of this, we would ask that householders do not make demands on the companies if they presently have an adequate supply of fuel.
Richard Guest, the Council's Head of Roads and Community Works, said: “In common with the rest of Scotland, the Council has been using salt in large quantities for an extended period during the early winter, to cope with the prolonged freezing conditions and heavy snow. The extremely low temperatures have seriously reduced the effectiveness of salt in causing the snow and ice to melt. The rate at which we can obtain replacement supplies of salt is not keeping pace with the rate it is being used up. We need to make sure we use the supplies of salt that we hold most effectively, to preserve stocks and make sure that roads are clear and safe.”
“These measures will be reviewed weekly to take into account future salt deliveries and the prevailing weather. They will help ensure prudent precautions are taken to safeguard services and essential supplies, should this period of severe weather continue.”
For further information on The Highland Council’s snow clearing and gritting priority routes; service arrangements for Christmas and New year; and winter advice visit the Council’s website at www.highland.gov.uk/winterwatch